Q&A With Microgrant Recipient Sirihaasa


Karma for Cara Foundation awards microgrants to youth 18 years of age & younger who spearhead exceptional service projects in their communities. Microgrant recipient Sirihaasa (16) used her award to create a Town of Normal, Illinois Time Capsule & host an accompanying event to preserve the memories and legacies of Normal citizens for 20 years. The mental health of her fellow classmates plummeted during 2020, and they had minimal resources or groups to discuss the impacts of COVID on their health. In order to move on & create a stronger and brighter future for her classmates and her town, Sirihaasa envisioned a project where everyone could cumulatively share their experiences which would in turn rebuild their town’s unity and cultivate a sense of closure.

  1. What inspired you to start this project? I was inspired to create the pandemic time capsule after coming to a horrid realization that the 1918 pandemic was dedicated to a singular, solemn paragraph in my AP US history textbook. I wanted to ensure that the legacy and experiences of people in my town were not forgotten or overlooked in the future. I wanted to ensure that future generations were able to have a deeper connection with the pandemic events that transpired in our town.
  2. While working on your project, what surprised you? I was surprised by the community around me and how rich the history in my community was. I was also deeply impacted by stories of promise during the pandemic. I was very happy with the community engagement!
  3. What do you feel you learned from this experience? I learned how to reach out to institutions and people in my community and how to preserve the legacy of people in my community. I was incredibly honored to do so.
  4. How did Karma for Cara impact your project? Karma for Cara provided me with the resources to make my project successful. I was able to use the money to purchase the time capsule and ensure that event ran smoothly.
  5. How will your project continue to impact others? The 20 year project time capsule will be opened in the future–20 years–and will hopefully provide an insight into what pandemic life was like. I was also able to receive a letter from the governor, and hope that will inspire people in the future. I hope this gift to my community will serve generations.
  6. How many hours did you spend on your project? 88
  7. How many youth volunteers or students were involved in your project? 30
  8. How many total hours did other youth volunteers or students spend on your project? 10